Rajinikanth

From Academic Kids

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Super Star Rajnikanth in Arunachalam (1997)

Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, more popularly known as Rajinikanth, is a well known Indian movie actor. Considered to be one of the most popular Tamil movie stars, his fans call him the Super Star of Tamil Cinema.

Contents

Birth and early life

Rajinikanth was born on December 12 1950 in Karnataka, India. He was the fourth child to is parents Rambai and Ramoji Rao Gaekwad. He lost his mother at a tender age of 5. He had his schooling at the Acharya Patasala in Bangalore and then at the Vivekananda Balak Sangh, a unit of the Ramakrishna Mission.

Before starting his career in the film industry, He had to take up all sorts of odd jobs. He served as a bus conductor for Karnataka state transport corporation in Bangalore. It was during this time, that he nurtured his acting interests by performing in various stage plays.

Acting career

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Rajinikanth (left) and Kamal Hassan (right) with their mentor K. Balachander

Powered by a strong desire to become an actor, Rajinikanth went to Madras, the tinsel town of Tamil Cinema. He was helped by a friend to join the Madras Film institute and completed his acting course in 1974.

Rajinikanth got his first break in movies when he played a small role as a cancer patient in the movie Apoorva Raagangal (1975). This film was directed by K. Balachandar, whom Rajinikanth considers his mentor, and who named him Rajnikant. This movie also starred Kamal Hassan in the lead role, who became one of his closest friends. The movie that fetched Rajinikanth a wide recognition was Moondru Mudichu (1976), in which he played the role of a cruel womanizer. He followed it up with movies like 16 vayadhinile , Gayathri, which cast him in villainous and anti-hero roles. Director S. P. Muthuraman first experimented with him in a positive role in Bhuvana Oru Kelvikkuri, in which Rajinikanth played a villain in the first half and a refined man in the second. Then Rajinikanth slowly moved on to playing positive and character roles in movies like Mullum malarum, Arilirundhu arubathu varai. Films Billa, Pokkiri raja and the like saw him playing stylish action roles while Murattu kalai, Payum puli and Moondru mugam took him to dizzy heights. He was also good at comedy as can be seen in Thillu mullu (1981). But the most unique among his movies was Sri Raghavendra (1985) —his 100th film— which was a biographical portrait of Hindu saint Raghavendra Swami.

The late 1980s saw him doing more and more action oriented family entertrainers like Velaikkaran, Manidhan, Dharmathin thalaivan,... and it was never looking back for Rajinikanth.

His movies made in the 1990s became mass blockbusters. Some of these include Annamalai, Baasha, Padayappa. These movies also had a tinge of politics.

His Latest movie Chandramuki (April 2005) has been breaking box office records all over Tamil Nadu after his previous movie Baba (2002) was not as much a commercial success as expected.

Rajinikanth is popular for his flamboyant dialogue delivery and characteristic mannerisms. While contemporary actor Kamal Hassan selects performance oriented roles, Rajinikanth's movies has been mass entertainers. His movies invariably has a 'good win over evil' theme with entertaining action sequences, catcy songs and good natured humour, which makes his films liked by people of all age groups and all walks of life.

Rajinikanth has acted in over 170 films including movies in Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi and Bengali. He has also acted in one Hollywood movie (Blood stone in 1988). He has acted along with notable actors like Sivaji Ganesan, Amitabh Bachchan, Kamal Hassan and Sridevi. He has worked with famous directors like Mani Ratnam and Bharatirajaa.

Popularity

Fans of Rajinikanth in Tamil Nadu consider every one of his release a festival and perform paal abishekams to his 'cut-out' images (bathe his gaint hoarding images with milk). His films are no less enthusiastically celebrated by Tamil people migrated to, and living in other countries.

Rajinikanth has a huge fan following in Japan. [1] (http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1323213,00110003.htm)

He has been considered to be the only actor in Indian cinema who guarantees super-hits of all his films. It is a well known fact that a Rajni movie can return box-office earnings of more than Rs. 50 crores [[2] (http://www.indiaitaly.com/publication/brochure/Indian-film-report.pdf) Page 29 (pdf)]. He has more than 50,000 fan clubs in Tamil Nadu.

Rajnikanth the person

In reality, Rajinikanth has been a simple, honest, well mannered and down-to-earth human being. When his movie Baba (2002) was not received well and financially unsuccessful (even though it ran for over 100 days, it was not upto the box office standards Rajinikanth's movies has set for themselves), Rajni took the unusual step of paying for the losses to the film's distributors.

Rajinikanth and spirituality

Rajinikanth has a spiritual outlook towards life, not surprising as he had his schooling at Ramakrishna Mission schools. When he was young, he used to read the Vedas, Upanishads and Shastras. He has been a follower of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa from a very early age. Later, he learnt Bhakti Yoga and followed the teachings of Sri Raghavendra. His spiritual Guru has been Swami Satchidananda. [3] (http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/mp/2003/01/13/stories/2003011300400200.htm)

Rajinikanth frequently visits the Himalayas and stays in places like Rishikesh contemplating meditation alone and in the company of Holy Sadhus and Rishis. Rajnikant claims to have visited the cave of Mahavatar Babaji in his recent visit to the Himalayas. [4] (http://rajinifans.com/articles/vikatan_thodar.asp)

Influence in politics

Rajinikanth has played a role in Tamil Nadu politics as well. In 1996, he was important in the defeat of the ruling AIADMK party in the Tamilnadu assembly elections. His one interview on Doordarshan, India's national Television proclaimed him King-maker when he supported the DMK-TMC combine and helped them come to power. Amid speculations about him participating in future elections, he continues to act in films and keep reasonably away from politics.

He was rated as one of the most influential persons in South Asia by Asiaweek.

Family

Rajinikanth married Latha on 26 February 1981. He has two daughters, Aishwarya and Sowndarya. His first daughter Aishwarya married Dhanush, an upcoming actor on November 18 2004.

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